What is the role of re-enforcing mesh in plastering?

Keep in mind, I'm not talking about the lathe, which is shown in this image. enter image description here

I'm talking about the mesh, shown in this image. enter image description here

When is a re-enforcing mesh required? Any use for it in a three layer process, using structolite and a finishing plaster?

How is it used?

Which material of mesh is preferred, for which applications?

I've seen plastic, fiberglass, and metal meshes. The latter looks like a much lighter weight version of metal lathe.

  • we had plaster on metal mesh in my dorm (we called it chicken wire at the time, but that's not accurate), and it was virtually impossible to knock a hole in the wall to run Ethernet between rooms. It takes several dremil bits to do that, don't ask me know i know. – dandavis Nov 13 '19 at 20:58
  • J. M. Becker Are you referring to the mesh that looks like drywall tape, just a really wide roll? – tahwos Nov 13 '19 at 23:25
  • @tahwos, yup, that's pretty much it, like really wide drywall tape style mesh. – J. M. Becker Dec 23 '19 at 20:27
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    I use it sometimes on large areas as reinforcement to reduce the risk of future instability - mainly on ceilings. i.e. If something else breaks loose down the road, it's still supported by the surrounding plaster and/or by the new plaster as well. Or if there are a cluster of cracks, but nothing is loose - I'll just cover the whole thing in one go. So if any movement is still present, and there usually is, repairs are fewer and farther between and less problematic/severe. – tahwos Dec 25 '19 at 0:32

The only place I seen that fiber mesh used in the Exterior Insulation Finish System (EIFS) system of stucco. It goes over the insulation board, folded over the edges and mudded in with a product for the EIFS. It is similar to thinset for tile work, but I believe it is a different product. After that is coated in, the finish layer is applied. It serves to toughen up the insulation board. This is quite an over simplification of the whole system, but it gets the idea across I hope. I have never seen this used in the 3 coat process for stucco, only for the EIFS system. I have seen the EIFS system used on cement board without the mesh over the whole surface since the joints only needed a narrow tape. In the comments I see tahwos uses it for plaster repair, and touched base about the other more narrow mesh. The mesh I was referring to earlier was like the material you have pictured that come in a 38"X 150' roll(s)

You have asked about plastic mesh too. The only place I have seen plastic mesh used, is a much heavier gauge for landscape and roadwork primarily for earth stabilization. There may be others in the group that may know more on that.

The metal lath is the only base material I have seen the 3 coat stucco being used. Also, back in the day, when plaster was in use or even towards the end of its popularity, the metal lath was used in plaster repair and bathroom shower stalls and some tub surrounds too whenever tile was going in place. Of course I have seen whole walls plastered with metal lath as the base, but only in one house over my 47 years in the trade.

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  • I think you identified the primary use case, what about the material of the mesh? Do you know when one would use plastic vs fiberglass mesh? – J. M. Becker Dec 31 '19 at 13:25
  • I edited the answer to add the other info – Jack Jan 1 at 1:13

The main purposes of the mesh are to:

  1. Provide a good base for the plaster to adhere to.
  2. Help prevent cracks from forming in the finished plaster.

Is it required? Probably not. Is it a good idea? Yes, absolutely!

I've only seen the metal lath-type used in outdoor applications or for products like stucco. The lighter-weight and less expensive products like plastic or fiberglass are often used indoors and are preferred these days.

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  • I think you are confusing re-enforcing mesh and mesh lathe. Both are types of mesh. – J. M. Becker Nov 11 '19 at 18:51

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